Got space problems? Changing the way your door swings might help.
A 32-inch door typically eats up about 13 sq. ft. of floor space when it swings. Change the door swing and you can decide where to place that wasted space -- on the left or right of your doorway, or on the inside or outside of the wall.
When I refinished part of my basement into a bedroom-bathroom suite, I wrestled with door-swing issues. When the door opened only into unfinished space, it was no problem. But when I remodeled the space, the right-swinging door opened into the suite just a hair past the wall of the new bathroom.
The first impression of the new space was cramped and uncomfortable. The carpenters changed the door swing before I could take good “before” pictures, but here's a look at the space now.
I changed the door to swing left and come to rest in a little nook not big enough for anything else. My carpenter charged about $100 to change the swing. Now, I walk into the middle of the bedroom, which looks and feels much better, and the freed-up wall space can house a bookcase or chest of drawers.
Related: Evaluate Your House for Basement Finishing
Changing the way a door swings might take a carpenter about an hour to do. But you can do it yourself if your carpentry skills are up to snuff. Here’s how:
If you're changing the door so it swings into a different room, you can remove the entire doorjamb and turn it around:
You can save yourself a lot of hassle by installing a new, pre-hung door ($240-$401) that swings the way you want. That way you avoid all that moving, routing, and patching.
The International Residential Code (IRC) doesn’t rule on bedroom door swings. But, unless space is an issue, most bedroom doors swing in. That way, if you’ve got to get out in an emergency, the bedroom door doesn’t swing into a hallway blocking or hitting others also fleeing for their lives.
Of course, each local ordinance has its own building code, though most work off the IRC. To be safe, check local codes before construction.
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